It’s about that time of year when women register – or are thinking about registering – to participate in formal recruitment in hopes of joining a sorority. Perhaps you’re sitting on the fence and are still unsure if you really want to go Greek. Rumors may make it sound scary and the formal rush process can admittedly sound a bit daunting at times. If you are thinking of going Greek, consider these 11 tips and bits of advice.
Before you click the link to register for recruitment and schedule your informational session, do some soul-searching:
1. Ask yourself "why."
Why did you initially think of going Greek? Is it something you’re doing “just because,” or is there a much bigger reason? Are you looking to connect with amazing women and form lifelong friendships? Do you want to be held to higher standards and be part of something much bigger than yourself? Do you want to give back and work with philanthropies that you’re passionate about? If you answered yes to these questions, then going through rush just might be right for you.
Now that you’ve figured out that you want to rush, ask yourself these questions:
2. Formal or informal?
Formal recruitment typically happens at the beginning of the fall semester and lasts for about a week. Almost every social sorority chapter participates in fall rush, but not every chapter participates in informal recruitment. Informal recruitment can happen at any time throughout the academic year and is set apart from formal recruitment for its shorter duration and more casual process (depending on the chapter. It’s entirely possible that some chapters may set informal recruitment to mirror formal recruitment). If you don’t like the idea of going through formal, then informal might be right for you. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t have the chance to see every chapter if you go informal.
What are you passionate about? Philanthropic service is a core part of every social sorority, and many events held by chapters are actually fundraisers for their philanthropies. A certain charity organization shouldn’t be the deciding factor in which sorority you join, but it is something to keep in mind.
4. What about paying dues?
It’s not everyone’s favorite thing to talk about, but paying dues is what keeps the chapter going and running smoothly. If you can’t pay, you can’t stay, so don’t be shy asking the sisters about dues. They will tell you everything you need to know, and if they really think that their sorority is a good home for you, there will be options to work out payments, such as monthly installments or deferring initiation for a semester so that you can save up.
If you’re feeling good about the stuff you’ve asked yourself so far, it’s time for you to ask me anything! Like these:
5. "Do I have to join a social group to go Greek?"
Not at all! There are tons of different options if you don’t think a social chapter is the right fit for you. While all of them have social aspects, they might have different focuses. Service sororities, for example, are more focused on service, as the name implies, and there are a couple of academic Greek chapters that are only open to women and dedicated to a certain major or area of study.
6. "What am I supposed to wear during recruitment?"
Every school has different guidelines and ways of going about recruitment, but a good rule of thumb is to have semi-formal clothes that can pass the high school dress code on hand. Nice dresses, pants and skirts without rips or holes, and dressy-yet-comfortable flats are just some of the staple pieces that will prove useful to you come rush week.
7. "Is there any terminology I should know?"
There are a couple of terms used pretty universally that you may hear. The first is PNM, or “potential new member.” A PNM is someone who has not been initiated into a sorority yet but is thinking of going through recruitment. Basically, any woman going through rush is a PNM. The other term is “rho gamma.” Other schools may use the term “pi chi” or “recruitment advisor” in place of “rho gamma”, but they all mean the same thing. A rho gamma is an active sorority woman who temporarily disassociates from her organization so that she can give unbiased help to the women who are going through recruitment.
8. "What if my top sorority drops me, or what if I don't get asked back to any house?"
It is heartbreaking when you feel like you connect with a group and they think that their chapter is not a good home for you. Unfortunately, there is no advice I can give to help take away the pain if that happens, but I do promise that it isn’t the end of the world. Trust the system. You will find your home in the Greek community, and if you don’t, that’s okay too. There are so many wonderful experiences to be a part of in college; while Greek life is great, it isn’t the end-all-be-all of your college experience.
9. "Do I have to act a certain way during rush?"
One of the worst things you can do is purposely act like whatever you think a typical sorority girl is. This will not help you find the chapter that is right for you, and often, others can tell whether you are being insincere. It’s not recommended that you spill all your life secrets, but don’t be afraid to say that Pizza Rolls are your life or that you’ve watched the entire One Tree Hill series three times through. Oftentimes, the quirky things that make you who you are will be the things that help you build connections and hold genuine conversations with the sorority girls.
10. "Am I going to get hazed?"
Colleges and universities do not condone hazing. It’s terrible that it still happens in some places, but by and large, hazing is not allowed and sororities follow the no-hazing rule. Sororities are about sisterhood, and you can’t have a true sisterhood you’re getting hazed. You have an incredibly low chance of getting hazed, but I won’t lie and say that it never ever happens.
11. "Is there anything else I need to know about sorority recruitment?"
Everything I’ve said thus far is just the basics. Every school does recruitment a little differently. Going to your school’s website and searching Greek life can provide you with a lot of helpful information. You can also go to an informational session (in some cases, an informational session is required to complete registration for recruitment), at which you will learn about recruitment in-depth and have an opportunity to ask any questions that you still have.
If you follow these 11 tips, you’ll find your forever home come fall semester. Whether it’s a social chapter, a service sorority, a multicultural chapter, a co-ed academic fraternity, or not even a Greek organization at all, you’ll meet amazing people and find a great club or organization that fits your wants and needs.